Testament: Part 4
Sparn had become an orensu—a student of Yanash and his strange new ways. From one place to another he drove his car in the caravan of curious followers. Always there were Vulcans who gladly received Yanash—a few intellectuals, but mostly Vulcans from the underclass of menials and technicians to which Yanash belonged, as well as members of fringe sects like the Golheni. Even outside the safebelts, Yanash drew crowds. No matter how remote the locale, how torrid the weather, there always seemed to be enough food and water for everyone. And only once was anybody harmed by a dangerous plant or creature, but not for long. Yanash had immediately sought out the screaming boy and healed the spine-lizard burn with a touch.
Yanash was fond of children. Only today he had spoken against the age-old custom of discipline by grandfathers. “The disciplining of children should be kept in the home. Punishment must at all times be tempered by a parent’s affection. Take your children into your arms. Do not be afraid to hold them, do not be afraid to speak what is in your heart. Love them tenderly, even as your Father loves you.”
More and more Yanash referred to God as a father and spoke openly of the Father’s love for all Vulcans. It came as no surprise that journalists had ceased reporting on the “Yanash Phenomenon”. Those in power did not approve of Yanash’s revolutionary teachings or the way some were now calling him “Shiav”, or savior. They would hope that a news blackout might put an end to his popularity.
But Sparn knew it would take more than that. Yanash had already grown too powerful. There were those among his followers who dreamed of overthrowing Vulcan’s government and putting Yanash in charge. One word from the Shiav, that is all it would take—but anyone who dared mention such an idea to the Teacher was soundly scolded.
Sparn sat in the shade of a parkland tree, watching Yanash and marveling at his patience. Eridani was low in the sky and Yanash had not enjoyed a moment of solitude in three days, yet still he welcomed the steady stream of people who continued to press forward, asking him to touch their children, pleading for favors and healing, eager for every word that came from his mouth.
As Sparn watched, an outworlder wearing a cooling suit shoved his way up to Yanash. The blue-skinned Andorian inclined his deformed antenna toward the Teacher and demanded, “Heal me!”
Yanash replied using, as was his custom, a very ancient name for Vulcan. “I came for the people of Yatara.”
The Andorian looked upon him and dropped to one knee. In a much humbler tone he said, “Lord, I know your goodness and mercy is not confined to any planet. Help me, I beg of you.”
Yanash gave the Andorian a gentle smile and said, “Your faith is great!”
He was reaching for the shriveled stalk when Sparn’s phone chimed. Absently Sparn drew it out and responded in voice mode, “Yes?”
The Andorian’s antenna seemed to plump and expand under Yanash’s touch. In an instant it looked entirely normal. Realizing that he was cured, the Andorian leaped up and cried in joy, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you! God spare you!”
It took a moment for Sparn to realize that the voice calling from his phone belonged to his brother. He had not been aware that Sarek was even on Vulcan. His diplomatic work demanded much traveling.
“Yes, Sarek,” he said, still intent on the scene before him. “Are you well? And Amanda, your wife?”
“I am well,” Sarek said. “Amanda found our recent trip more tiring than usual, but her healer says there is no cause for concern.” He paused, and then spoke again with an unusual note of urgency. “Sparn, where are you?”
So Sarek had been informed. Reluctantly Sparn rose from his spot of shade. He did not notice the Teacher’s eyes on him as he moved farther away from the crowd. His hand trembled slightly, but his voice remained firm as he said, “I believe you know where I am, brother. With Yanash.”
Sarek’s tone became icy. “That renegade? Have you lost your mind?”
The words loosed a tangle of emotion. As the elder brother, Sparn had a right to Sarek’s respect, but both of them knew who was the wiser, the more accomplished. Though Sparn had long resented Sarek, he also dreaded his disapproval.
Sarek demanded, “Leave there at once, Sparn! If need be, charge the transportation to my account. At once! Do you hear me?”
Sparn drew a shaky breath and glanced over his shoulder, expecting to see Yanash in the midst of the crowd. He found himself standing face to face with the Teacher, and felt strengthened.
“Sparn!” Sarek snapped. “Do you understand? Answer me!”
“Yes,” Sparn said evenly. “I understand everything you are saying.” And he broke the connection.
Almost at once the phone in his hand began chiming again. Inwardly torn, Sparn stared at it.
“It is my brother,” he told Yanash. “Sarek thinks I have gone mad, and perhaps I have. I am neglecting my business, and the bills are accumulating at an alarming rate…”
“Sparn,” Yanash said in gentle reproach. He took the phone from his hand and turned it off. “Sparn, no one who has left businesses or belongings to follow me will go unrewarded. When we first met, you were gathering sandclaws. Soon you will begin to gather something of far greater value.”
Sparn gazed into comforting blue eyes, and his heart beat faster. All his life he had yearned for the kind of greatness that seemed to come so naturally to Sarek and his halfling son—to perform brave deeds that affected the course of history. “Teacher,” he asked, “what would you have me do?”
Yanash put a hand on Sparn’s shoulder, a sweet dizzying touch, and softly said, “Your brother’s wife is ill.”
“Yes.” Sparn was not at all surprised that Yanash knew. Was the teacher reading his thoughts? “She has been seen by a healer; she is in no danger.”
With solemn certainty Yanash said, “Her illness is to the death.”
The words took Sparn aback. Amanda dying? In his mind’s eye he saw the fragile little human his brother had married. How he had always disliked her and her halfbreed offspring—Spock, who resembled him so strongly.
“She has a son,” Yanash said.
Sparn warmed with embarrassment. “Yes. Spock. He lives among the humans on Earth.”
Yanash nodded. “You must go to him at once.”
Astonished, Sparn stepped away from Yanash and his pleasant, disturbing touch. “No. There is no need for that. I will send him a message.”
“And he will contact his parents and they will assure him that all is well.”
Sparn argued harder. “Why would Spock believe me? Me, of all people? Teacher, you do not understand…”
Yanash looked upon him in silence and Sparn felt his embarrassment deepening into shame. Yes, the Teacher understood. All too clearly Yanash saw the bitter prejudices and resentments Sparn had carried through the years. Yet there was no condemnation in the Teacher’s eyes, only sadness.
“Go to him,” Yanash said.
Sparn feebly nodded.
“I should be used to this by now,” Lauren said with a catch in her voice.
Spock watched her rise up and begin to pace alongside the hospital bed James had occupied all week. Now the bed was empty. Once more, James had been whisked to some other area of the hospital for further testing. Once more, specialists were struggling to devise some innovative medical procedure to keep him alive one more day, one more month, one more year.
Lauren stopped and faced Spock, who remained motionless in his chair. “I should be used to this,” she repeated. “But on his fifth birthday? Why did it have to happen now?”
Spock found it interesting that she had not simply questioned why their son had to suffer a life-threatening syndrome at all. From the beginning, Lauren had accepted James’ condition more easily than Spock—perhaps because she was a doctor and well-acquainted with maladies. Spock only knew that he wanted their son to live.
“James will survive,” he said levelly.
Lauren’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. Raising a fist to her trembling mouth, she drew in a slow breath. “Maybe he will. Maybe this time…”
“Then don’t think beyond this time.” Spock rose. “Consider Jim Kirk. He was confined to a wheelchair until Aaron Pascal developed the Cell Transmigrator. No one is capable of predicting future events. A cure for James could be found today.”
Hope stirred in Lauren’s eyes. Wordlessly she crossed the little room and sought comfort in his arms. Calming somewhat, she said, “Poor Teresa. It’s her birthday, too. And we missed Simon’s competition. I wonder how he did? You’d better go home.”
“Yes,” Spock agreed. There was no need to say the familiar words, but he did anyway.
“Call me if…”
“I will,” she promised.
Spock left the hospital. Clouds the color of human blood all but obscured the setting sun. Darkness was fast approaching when he arrived home. Teresa heard the skimmer land and met him at the door.
“How’s Jamie?” she asked, her blue eyes wide and solemn.
“The doctors are taking good care of him,” Spock replied evasively. “Have you opened your gifts?” But of course she would not have. This sweet-natured daughter would touch neither gifts nor cake until her beloved Jamie could share them with her.
And if James died? Spock pushed the chilling thought into a remote corner of his mind.
Before he could pass over the threshold, Teresa stretched up on tiptoe and whispered,
“Daddy, there’s a Vulcan man here. Auntie Sakata let him in.”
“Indeed,” Spock said, curious.
Just then, wizened old Mrs. Sakata appeared in the doorway with her purse. “Mr. Spock—it’s good you’re back. Son called. Simon won top honor and will be here soon. Dinner cooked and uncle man waiting. Very patient man. I go home now.”
Thinking that Mrs. Sakata had meant to say “Vulcan man”, Spock went into the living room with Teresa on his heels. A single light shone in one corner where a silvery-haired Vulcan sat in Lauren’s favorite chair.
The man rose from the chair and faced him.
Spock stared, too stunned to say a word. Sparn here on Earth? In his home?
He gradually became aware of a small hand tugging at his sleeve. “Daddy,” Teresa coached in a stage whisper, “say ‘hello’.”
Sparn’s eyes went to the child and Spock found himself wanting to conceal her from this cold, disapproving man who had so plagued his own childhood.
“Teresa, upstairs,” he told her.
She let out a gusty sigh. “Upstairs, upstairs, that’s all I ever hear!” But she obeyed.
Sparn sighed almost as loudly as the child. It was a sound Spock had never heard from his rigidly controlled uncle, and now he noticed other differences, as well—a subtle relaxing of Sparn’s arrogant stance, an unfamiliar gentleness in his dark, hawkish eyes.
“Hello, Spock,” Sparn said almost pleasantly, using the non-Vulcan salutation suggested by Teresa.
Spock inclined his head in the Vulcan manner and spoke the greeting appropriate for an uncle. “T’teer.” Reaching deep into the discipline, he added, “You honor me and my home.”
“Spock, let us be truthful,” Sparn responded. “I have never done anything to honor you or your home, but with your forbearance I hope to do so now.”
By M.C. Pehrson